Such is a general sketch of the large subject included under the
term of the calculation of probabilities, which comprises not
only the chances of games of hazard, insurances, lotteries, &c.,
but also the determination of future events from observations
made relative to events of the same nature. This subject of
inquiry dates only from the 17th century, and occupied the minds
of Pascal, Huygens, Fermot, Bernouilli, Laplace, Fourier,
Lacroix, Poisson, De Moivre; and in more modern times, Cournot,
Quetelet, and Professor De Morgan.
In the matter of betting, or in estimating the 'odds' in betting,
of course an acquaintance with the method must be of some
service, and there can be no doubt that professional gamesters
endeavoured to master the subject.
M. Robert-Houdin, in his amusing work, Les Tricheries des Grecs
devoilees, has propounded some gaming axioms which are at least
curious and interesting; they are presented as those of a
professional gambler and cheat.